You've been noticing more hairs than normal on your pillow or on your hair brush and start to worry that you are loosing your hair.
We as hairdressers more than often hear this concern from our clients the moment we start the appointment.

The reality is that most likely you are just shedding more hairs than normal and not completely losing them, and yes, there is a massive difference between the two.

Hair shedding often stops on its own

It is normal to shed between 50 and 100 strands of hair a day. When the shedding is significantly higher than that, you are experiencing excessive hair shedding. This condition is called "Telogen Effluvium".

Excessive hair shedding is quite common when one of the following stressors occur:
  • Giving birth.
  • Experiencing high stress levels (when for example going through divorce, losing a job, financial stress etc.).
  • After having high fever or recovering from an illness that was accompanied by high fever.
  • Losing a lot of weight.
  • After major surgery.
  • When stopping taking birth-control pills, or when having sever hormonal changes.

Majority of people will only notice the start of excessive hair shedding a few months after the stressful event.
This type of shedding is normal and temporary. As body functions readjust and stress level are back to normal the excessive shedding is reduced and goes back to normal shedding. Typically within six to nine months hair should regain its fulness.

However, if the stressor is not controlled or reduced, excessive hair shedding can become a long term condition.

How is hair loss different

Hair loss happens when a condition stops the hair from growing back and the hair root is not growing new hair. This condition is called "Anagen Effluvium". This can happened due to one of these causes:
  • Hereditary hair loss.
  • Your immune system overreacts which leads to autoimmune disorders.
  • Reactions to some drugs or treatments.
  • Hairstyles that put excessive pressure on the hair follicle, for example hair placed in a ponytail which is too tight etc.
  • Harsh haircare products or chemicals.
  • the irresistible urge to pull your own hair.

If you experience hair loss, your hair will not grow back until the cause stops (if it can stop). An example to that can be when hair tends to grow back after undergoing chemotherapy treatments.
If you suspect of feel that a drug you are taking is causing you to loose hair, speak to your GP for further advise.

Other causes of hair loss may require treatment. People who have hereditary hair loss continue to lose hair without the right treatment. This differs from men to women as women notice gradual thinning in the hair whereas men experience receding hairline or bald patch that expands gradually.

Treatment helps many people that have hair loss, but not everyone. A Dermatologist or Trichologist can advise you on this. These doctors specialise in diagnosing and treatment of skin, hair and nail conditions. They can tell you whether you have excessive hair shedding or hair loss, or even both. They can help you track the cause or causes and advise how to treat them. The sooner the treatment begins, the better you can tackle the problem and most likely solve it.